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Breakfast of Champions!

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I know that really and truly I should have posted this on Friday night so that you could try this for brunch over the weekend, but life has just been a little too hectic recently to be that organised with my blog (the blog really has fallen by the wayside a little recently!) Anyway, now you have it well in advance of next weekend, which we all know is a special weekend! Yes, it’s Valentines, so no doubt you will all be serving your loved one a scrumptious breakfast in bed. Now you have your breakfast in bed recipe all ready to go!

I called this dish “Breakfast of Champions” because breakfasts don’t really get much better than this in terms of taste and nutrition! Organic free range eggs, smoked wild Alaskan salmon and creamy kale! It’s all in there. Just think of how your body loves taking in all that great stuff like omega 3, great quality protein, and the calcium, iron and magnesium from the kale.

Believe it or not, this was also the first time I have ever made poached eggs in the old school way, as I was always slightly afraid of ruining them. It was easy and after testing the way with the first one, which wasn’t as attractive as it could have been, they came out perfect!

Breakfast of Champions (Creamy Kale with Smoked Salmon and Poached Eggs) Serves 2

3-4 cups chopped kale, hard ribs removed
2-4 slices wild smoked salmon
4 eggs
1 tbsp cream cheese (optional)
1/2 tbsp butter
1 tsp white vinegar
1/4 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Poach the kale in the chicken stock until tender (about 5 mins). Once cooked, drain remaining liquid. Add butter and cream cheese if using and stir until fully melted and incorporated. Cover and keep warm while you concentrate on poaching the eggs.

Poach eggs according to your preferred method. I used a large saucepan with about an inch of water in the bottom. Bring the water up to a rolling boil and add the vinegar. Crack the egg into a ramekin. Stir the water to create a vortex and then gently tip the egg in while the water is still swirling (but you are no longer stirring it). Turn the heat down a little so you can observe the egg’s progress. Allow to poach for around 3 mins (or longer if you prefer it a little less runny). Carefully remove egg from water with a slotted spoon. Cook each egg separately to avoid disaster!

Once all your eggs are poached, layer kale, then smoked salmon and finally the eggs on a plate. Season with Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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Raw Truffles

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I went to Scotland last week to visit Mr (not entirely) Grain Free’s family and wanted to take some home made Paleo treats for them. I decided to try these out on my own parents before making them to give to his. I have to say, I was very pleased with how they turned out. They are ridiculously easy and quick to make and unbelievably moreish!

Raw Truffles
(makes around 20, depending on size)

1 cup sunflower seeds
9 medjool dates
3 tbsp cocoa powder
200g coconut cream concentrate
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup desiccated coconut

Melt the coconut cream concentrate in a Bain Marie.
Blitz sunflower seeds in a food processor.
Add in the dates and whizz until it forms a thick mass.
Add the rest of the ingredients and process until everything is well mixed.
Take small teaspoonfuls of the mixture and form into balls.
Roll in desiccated coconut.
When all the truffles are done, place in the fridge for at least 30 mins to firm up before serving.

Cheat Day Meal!

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I LOVE a good burger. My boyfriend and I make it our lives’ work to find the best burger in London. He is a big fan of the Kimchi Burger at the Hawkesmoor, although he is also quite keen on the burgers from pop-up turned permanent Patty and Bun. Personally, I thought the burgers I made were pretty awesome, and better still, I know that the meat is organic and from grass-fed cows (and very fresh as I purchased it that morning from the butcher). My burger expert was impressed with my offering and gave it his seal of approval!

Burgers with Slaw and Sweet Potato Fries (serves 3)
Ingredients:

Burgers:
500g grass-fed organic minced beef (not too lean)
6 small slices smoked cheddar (optional)
Salt and pepper
Homemade mayo to serve (I made wholegrain mustard mayo)

Slaw:
2 large carrots, shredded
1/2 Chinese cabbage (Napa), shredded
3 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
2 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt

Sweet Potato Fries:
3 sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into French Fry sticks
2 tsp bacon fat
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180C
Melt bacon fat on a baking sheet in the oven.
Place sweet potato sticks on baking sheet and toss with your hands to coat with the fat.
Sprinkle over the seasonings and toss again to ensure they are well distributed.
Bake in the oven for 30 mins.
Prepare slaw by placing shredded cabbage, carrots and sliced spring onions in a bowl.
Add dressing ingredients and toss well to mix.
Put a griddle pan on to heat up (it needs to get really hot).
Put minced beef in a bowl.
Add seasoning and mix well with your hands, breaking up and squashing the meat as you mix to help tenderise it. Resist the temptation to season the meat in advance – add the salt only just before you are ready to cook it as the salt begins to cure the meat if left for any length of time.
Form into patties.
Pace in the hot griddle pan over a high heat. Cook for a couple of minutes each side, depending on the thickness of your patties and how well you like them cooked. Err on the side of underdone as you are going to put them in the oven briefly.
Remove from the pan and place on a baking sheet.
Place the cheese if using on top of the patties and pop into the oven for a minute or so, until cheese is melted.
Plate up with sweet potato fries and slaw. Add a dollop of homemade mustard mayo if you like and any other toppings that float your boat.
Who needs the dry, tasteless bun?

Mushroom Soup

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The weather is still awful! Cold, rainy and miserable. I’m about to go off to train my Saturday morning client in it too!

This mushroom soup is warming, tasty and satisfying. I wish I had some left to come home to after my session, but sadly I don’t! It contains dairy and chicken stock, but vegetarians could use vegetable stock instead and non-dairy eaters could omit the cream and milk. I tasted it before I added the dairy and it was delicious, so you won’t be missing out too much!

Cream of Mushroom Soup (serves 3-4)
Ingredients:

250g brown chestnut mushrooms, sliced
250g Portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 red onion, chopped
Knob of butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
200ml chicken stock
3 tbsp sherry (you could use Marsala if you don’t have sherry)
150ml cream
200ml whole milk
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sauté onion in the butter in a large soup pan. Cook until it begins to turn slightly translucent.
Add the mushrooms. Stir to coat in the butter and sauté until they begin to soften and release their juice (adding some sea salt will help).
Add the thyme, pepper, sherry and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook on a low heat for around 5 mins.
Using a stick blender, purée in the pan until you are left with a thick mush (mmmm, sounds appetising!)
Add cream and milk and heat through but do not allow to boil.
Serve and enjoy!

Slow-Cooked Salt Beef with Roast Pumpkin and Sautéed Chard

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This dish was one of those ones that you just put in your slow-cooker and forget about. I left mine cooking for 30 hours! It was still a little on the chewy side which I was surprised about after the length of time it cooked, but as it was my first attempt at doing salt beef, I have no frame of reference. Don’t feel the need to cook it as long – I don’t think it would have been much different if it had cooked for half the time. The flavour of the meat was great (as you would expect from grass-fed beef). I served it with smokey roast pumpkin wedges and sautéed chard in bacon fat. Yum!

Slow-cooked Salt Beef with Roast Pumpkin and Sautéed Chard
Ingredients:

Approx 1 kg salt beef joint (aka corned beef – it should already be cured)
Enough water to cover the joint, twice (explanation to follow)
2 carrots, cut into 4 pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into 4 pieces
2 bay leaves
1 small pumpkin, deseeded and cut into wedges
1-2 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper
1 head of Swiss Chard, sliced
4 tsp bacon fat

Cover the beef with water in a bowl and leave to soak for 24 hours before you intend to cook this dish.
Discard the water after 24 hrs.
Place the beef in a slow cooker/crockpot and just cover with water.
Add the vegetables and bay leaves and cook on low for at least 10hrs
An hour before serving, preheat the oven to 180C
Melt 2 tsp of bacon fat on a baking sheet then place the pumpkin wedges on it, making sure you cover both sides with the bacon fat.
Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the smoked paprika.
Bake in the oven for 45-60 mins.
5 mins before serving, melt the remaining bacon fat in a saucepan and add the chard.
Toss to coat in the fat, season, then place the lid on the pan and allow it to steam in its own juice.
Slice or shred the meat to serve – the choice is yours.
You can also hang on to the water you cooked the beef in as a base for soups.

Spiced Pear Loaf Cake

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Well, just when I thought Spring had sprung, it’s snowing today and around freezing. My beautiful hellebores and primroses I bought last week thinking I would plant over the weekend (and didn’t because it was cold and rainy), are really not happy about this wintry weather and neither am I!

I had some lovely pears (not sure which variety, but they have turned a lovely golden colour) delivered in my organic fruit box last week. They gave me the idea for a delicately spiced loaf cake, which turned out to be quite tasty – very moist and only a little sweet (so you could add more maple syrup if you like things really sweet).

Spiced Pear Loaf Cake (makes one large loaf)
Ingredients:

6 Medjool dates
3 eggs
2 cups almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp ground flax
1 tbsp coconut flour
1/2 cup full fat Greek Yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 very ripe pears, cut into very small chunks

Preheat oven to 170C
Grease and line a large loaf tin with parchment.
Put dates in a microwave safe container and almost cover with boiling water. Microwave on full power for around 2 mins 30. Discard water and mash or purée dates.
While they are still hot, add the coconut oil and leave to melt.
Mix all ingredients (except pears) in a mixing bowl to form a thick batter, adding inn the dates and coconut oil.
Finally, mix pears into batter carefully so they don’t turn to mush.
Pour batter into loaf tin and bake for 50-60 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

This was great served as a dessert the next day, slightly warmed in the oven and covered with home-made Primal custard.

More Marvellous Meatballs

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I know, I know, I’m always posting meatball recipes. I was in the mood for something Italian and these little babies with homemade marinara and courgette ‘pappardelle’ was just the ticket! I baked the meatballs separately and poured the sauce over before serving, but you could easily cook them in the sauce on the stove or bake them in the sauce in the oven.

Italian Meatballs Marinara on Courgette Papardelle (serves 3-4)
Ingredients:
For the Meatballs
500g pork mince
1 onion, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp coconut flour
1 egg
Salt and pepper

For the Marinara
A glug of EVOO
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2 cans chopped tomatoes
Bunch of basil leaves, chopped
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

For the ‘Papardelle’
3-4 courgettes
Knob of butter
Parmesan cheese for serving

Preheat the oven to 170C
Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs together in a bowl. Mix well and form into balls.
Place on a greased baking sheet and bake in the oven for 35 mins.
For the sauce, sauté the onion and garlic in the EVOO for a few minutes until translucent.
Add the remaining ingredients and allow to simmer while you turn your attention to the courgette Papardelle.
Using a carrot peeler or mandolin, make wide ribbons from the courgettes.
Melt some butter in a saucepan. Add the courgettes and stir to coat with the butter.
Put the lid on the pan and allow the courgettes to steam slightly in their own moisture for around 2-3 minutes or until cooked, but still slightly al-dente.
Serve the meatballs on a bed of courgette noodles and pour over some of the marinara sauce. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese over the top and season with a little freshly ground pepper.
Voilà, or as they say in Italy, ‘eco ci qua’!